Bonnaroo, a popular music festival in June, is often considered to be a festival flooded with drugs and alcohol, but The Fix shows a different side of this festival. It was a pleasant surprise for "sober folk" to find Harold Owens, of MusiCares, an organization dedicated to helping musicians in need to medical care and addiction recovery, sitting under a tent labeled, "for friends of Bill W." in the musicians area.
Harold told visitors, "Whenever you want to have a meeting, we'll have a meeting." A few hours later, one man shared about the beauty of being present for his job and the music, giving gratitude for sober support at Bonnaroo. This was the first time MusiCares has attended Bonnaroo, but they already held meetings at Coachella, Sasquatch!, and the Warped Tours.
On the other side of the stages was Soberoo, which described itself as "a group of clean and sober music fans who choose to remain drug-and-alcohol-free at Bonnaroo and other music festivals." Volunteers from Soberoo passed out yellow stickers saying "Another Dopeless Hope Fiend," and "One Show at a Time." The tent hoisted yellow balloons, as well, visible from the entire festival, intended to be a welcoming signal to anyone who wanted to check it out.
At 4pm on Saturday, while Flogging Molly played nearby, about 60 people gathered in the crowded Soberoo tent, expressing gratitude for being able to experience the music they love sober, with the support of Soberoo. One man said, "I truly believe I can do anything and go anywhere as long as I don't drink or use. That obviously includes Bonnaroo now. Knowing there's a meeting here gives me the freedom and confidence to do what I want." This meeting has grown from just a couple of dozen people in the campgrounds to a large tent in the main area.
Image courtesy of Heidi Vanderlee and The Fix.